July 28th 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The Strange Case of the Vanishing Safe Schools Resources

EDITORIAL By-elections will test Shorten's 'politics of envy' strategy

ASIA-PACIFIC AFFAIRS A modest proposal for Australia's regional security

CANBERRA OBSERVED Odds are that Labor won't Albo Bill aside

TECHNOLOGY Wonder carbon material on cusp of commercialisation

ENVIRONMENT Electric vehicles still only for elitist planet savers

ENERGY SECURITY Steam rail backup could get us out of hot water

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT NEG papers over crisis behind energy price hikes

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Beijing goes 'boo', Qantas gets in a flap

EUTHANASIA Death with dignity, or putting Death to death?


MUSIC Aural wallpaper: The background hiss to our lives

CINEMA Ant-Man and the Wasp: Downsized superheroes

BOOK REVIEW Timely essays on religious freedom

BOOK REVIEW Fraudulent father of psychoanalysis



No question about it: the Don is in charge

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News Weekly, July 28, 2018

Shorten and the class war

Multimillionaire Warren Buffett once declared: “Actually, there’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won. We’re the ones that have gotten our tax rates reduced dramatically.”

However Bill Shorten, Albo and the rest of Labor’s New Class don’t come into this battle with their hands clean, nor can they cast the first stone.

First, media coverage of MPs rarely mentions that, if you are an MP on the defined benefits super scheme, you now have $6 million plus in your super pot. Many Labor frontbenchers are in this group. The Australian’s “Shorten’s frontbench team rich in assets” (June 26, 2018), is very illustrative and clearly shows Labor MPs are well and truly in the top 2 to 3 per cent of income earners (and property owners) in Australia.

Second. Bill, Albo and comrades, when in government in 2013, enacted a viscous class war against three welfare groups. In cabinet’s Expenditure Review Committee, Bill and Albo voted not to increase the dole (Newstart), which was then and is now one of the world’s lowest and hasn’t had a value increase since Paul Keating’s government in 1994.

Likewise Bill, Albo and Co also voted to tighten up on the Disability Support Pension so that it was, and is now, extremely hard to get and you have to have one foot in the grave to have any hope.

Bill topped this off by voting and moving the actual legislation as employment minister to offload sole parents from their pension of $21,000 a year to the dole of $14,000 a year when their child turned eight. Many sole parents then had to couch-surf or sleep in their cars, and work in massage parlours.

All Bill’s decisions surely are a major cause of poverty today; he and Albo and the rest should hang their heads in shame. After all, Albo was raised by his single mother on the sole-parent pension.

One thing Bill did do was to support his long-time friend, Nicola Roxon, who left Parliament on a pension of $143,000 a year, so that, yes, you’ve guessed it, she could spend more time with her daughter, who had just turned eight. Nicola, of course voted for Bill’s legislation. The party as a whole also voted for a 35 per cent pay increase for MPs.

Also, Bill and Albo (family income $800,000 plus a year), Macklin, Wong, Gillard, Swan, Carr, Plibersek (family income $850,000 plus a year) and others, knew that the real unemployment figures showed a job vacancy rate of one job for every 20 unemployed.

Bill, Albo and the entire Labor Party: Get your own house in order. Conduct a real class war within Labor’s ranks first, then and only then can you tackle Malcolm and the “top end of town”.

Marcus L’Estrange,
St Kilda West, Vic.


A further pro-life clarification

In her letter “Pro-life clarification” (News Weekly, July 14, 2018), Anne Lastman stated that she doesn’t “think that pro-lifers argue among themselves about the term ‘pro-life’”. I am surprised at this because in her article. “So, is this not pro-life?” (News Weekly, June 2, 2018), Anne concluded that “we have an anti-life society that seems to be intent on attacking and destroying the domain of the creator while we argue among ourselves about words”.

Anne’s comment was made in the context of her posing the questions: “Are we pro-lifers sabotaging our language just as surely as the pro-aborts and pro-choicers who sabotaged the words ‘choice’ and ‘rights’?” and “Are we going to do the same with the term ‘pro-life’, meaning only life in the womb?”

I addressed these questions in my letter “Pro-life for all human life” (News Weekly, June 30) by putting the case that those actively opposing abortion have never regarded the term “pro-life” as applying uniquely to them. Moreover I contended that to “be truly pro-life a person needs to be concerned about all human-rights abuses, whether these are perpetrated on the unborn or on other categories of human being”.

My letter was focused solely on responding to some of the issues Anne raised. It did not contain any reference whatsoever to the Helpers or include any comment about the level or nature of Anne’s involvement with this group or her other pro-life activities.

So, it is puzzling that Anne set out details of her involvement with the Helpers and her other pro-life work as if she needed to reassure readers that she has the credentials to discuss the issues. Anne’s strong commitment to the pro-life cause in all its forms has never been in question.

Richard Grant,
Middle Park, Vic.


NEG guarantee

Will the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) really ensure stable and economical base-load power? Short answer: no.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s NEG is a dud. It will not generate one single Megawatt of power. What we urgently need is to build two HELE base-load power stations to replace the Hazelwood and Liddell power stations.

All the NEG will do is to guarantee rolling blackouts due to severe shortages of dispatchable power. It will also guarantee more expensive energy as renewables are around two to three times more expensive than fossil fuels.

The NEG will guarantee a bleak future for our children as industry will relocate operations offshore. It will also guarantee the decline of employment in Australia as no company is going to set up in any country with high energy costs and inadequate base-load power.

The NEG will guarantee a decline in living standards due to high power costs and will adversely affect many people, including the elderly, who, due to high power bills, will shiver through winter and run the risk of heat stroke in summer as they will be too afraid to switch on their air-conditioners.

Renewable power is not suitable for base-load power. Why is this proving so hard for politicians to understand?

Alan Barron,
Convener, Geelong Climate Sense Coalition,
Grovedale, Vic.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm